VICTORIA, 16 February 2021 – Seychelles will not stop construction of a five star, $250 million Anse a la Mouche Hotel, despite protests by concerned citizens and environmentalists.
“The government has no intension of stopping this project. The project will continue exactly in the form that it is currently,” the president of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan, said Monday.
The announcement Monday followed protests Saturday by three dozen citizens of Anse a la Mouche against the development of the 120-room hotel.
Protesters expressed concerns that the project would affect the protection of the wetland, hinder or limit access to the beach for residents, trigger road diversions and impact the livelihood of residents, including notably those who thrive on fishing.
The Seychellois president said his government has “taken into consideration” the concerns of environmentalists and residents.
“No construction will take place in the area where the wetland is located,” Ramkalawan said in response to the protests and an online petition against the project which had garnered over 940 signatures by close of business last February 9.
He explained that the road diversion will take about two minutes to travel along and will replace the current road that is constantly being threatened by the effects of climate change.
“The current road will be turned into a promenade similar to that of Beau Vallon and no access will be denied to the beach,” Ramkalawan said, describing the project as one which allows environmental protection and development to “happen in a good partnership”.
The $250 million project will bring the island nation a much needed injection of investment during the downturn brought about by COVID-19.
“During a time when you do not have foreign direct investment, $25 million in two years [of investment in the hotel project] is considerable,” the Seychellois Vice President Ahmed Afif told reporters during a press conference held Monday in the capital, Victoria.
“When the hotel, which will have 160 rooms, opens, this will create 600 jobs, a percentage of which will be occupied by Seychellois,” Afif added.
“When we look at the fact that the environment will not be affected, that jobs and investments will be created, is it rational to stop such an investment?,” Afif asked before answering his own question: “For me the answer is clearly no”.
The Anse à la Mouche hotel is designed as a mixed-use project, comprising an area for tourism, retail, residential and entertainment.
Afif also said that the project is not part of the moratorium imposed on the construction of large hotels with 25 rooms or more in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
“We need to relook at the moratorium as everything is quite dynamic during this time that we need to attract investments,” Afif added.
The project is sponsored by the Anse La Mouche Development Company Seychelles (ALDMC) and will be developed by the Royal Development Company.
One of the world’s most beautiful tropical island destinations, Seychelles is an archipelago of 116 islands spread over one million square kilometers and located 1,600 km (1,000 miles) east of the African coast in the Indian Ocean at the crossroad between Asia and Africa.
The highest peak in the archipelago is More Seychellois, rising up to 900 meters.
The island nation which uses Seychellois Creole (90 percent), English and French, as official languages, has a population of just over 98,000 inhabitants.